Turkification of north Cyprus?


Tower of Babel

More information has been released since NCFP first published an article concerning the banning of Gibrizlija, the Turkish Cypriot dialect, by the Higher Broadcasting Council (HBC). It appears that BRT and Genc TV for example have been increasing the number of programmes broadcast in the dialect and this may be a trend that has upset the UBP government. Companies such as Lemar advertise their services in Gibrizlija, while even the tax office sends out warnings in the dialect!

Gibrizlija cuts across social barriers and is a way of unifying a group of people, Turkish Cypriots, and perhaps this is the reason it is frowned on by a government which talks of the “Turks of Cyprus.” Gibrizlija is not ‘bad Turkish’ it is a way of communicating passed down for generations. It has been formed over time, according to linguists, by the Yoruk dialect of the Taurus Mountains being influenced by Cypriot-Greek, Venetian-Italian and British-English.

The decision to ban Gibrizlija has been described as shameful by virtually all opposition parties, but then they would wouldn’t they; they know that the UBP’s decision will lose them votes in the future. Ferdi Soyer went even further by accusing the current government of trying to rule by using oppression, saying that UBP was “a government which dictates even how people will talk.” Sedar Denktash said it was an attempt to make Turkish Cypriots ashamed of the way they speak. Mehmet Cakici, the chairman of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), thought the decision was part of a policy of annihilating the Turkish Cypriot culture.

The HBC is currently monitoring north Cyprus’s 15 TV channels and 23 radio stations to make sure ‘bad Turkish’ is no longer broadcast. Some say that the decision appears to be part of a wider policy to assimilate Turkish Cypriots into Anatolian Turkish culture especially as settlers from Turkey now outnumber Turkish Cypriots and just when citizenship is about to be handed to 15,000 more mainland Turks by Christmas. It could then be argued that the majority of citizens do not speak Gibrizlija and because the remaining Turkish Cypriot minority can understand Turkish then the language ban means that all “Turks of Cyprus” can understand all TV and radio programmes.

Personally I was wondering if there was a school where I could learn to speak Gibrizlija – Gideceñ okula?

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